Wakana has been urging me to see a psychiatrist, so I’m finally starting to move in that direction (now that I have health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act). I found a local psychiatrist in my plan, but I think I need a referral from my primary care provider to go see her. I was concerned because my healthcare ID cards have my birth name on them, but I’ve updated my social security and driver’s license to reflect my married name. I don’t want to be denied healthcare because of the inconsistency.
So I called my HMO, and had to talk to a machine, and finally got to talk to a person, who gave me a number I’d already tried and gotten a busy signal, then transferred me to an automated health screening. (The person was nice and as helpful as possible, given the bureaucratic red tape.) When asked to rate my overall health, I rated it as “fair” – but the other questions led me to think perhaps it’s a bit better than that. I don’t need the equipment or assistance they specified (though help remembering to take medications might prove useful, and I’d love to have someone come in and help me declutter on some kind of regular schedule). I only answered “yes” to one of the conditions mentioned: symptoms of depression. The thing is, there were no questions about the severity of my symptoms. The only other clearly mental-health related question was “Have you been diagnosed with schizophrenia?” There was no mention of bipolar, anxiety, PTSD, dissociative disorders, or other mental health issues.
After being screened, I tried calling the bureaucracy again and selected the option to talk to a human being. I was forwarded to an answering service, which then disconnected me because the mailbox was full. I don’t know if going through the automated service would have worked better, but think I would have been transferred to a
human answering service disconnected anyway.
“Oh, well,” I thought. “I’ll just have to go there in person and deal with whatever stupidity awaits me. I’ll bring water, snacks, and a good book.”
Of course I didn’t feel up to it today. I was barely able to keep myself from crying while I was on the phone, and I’m sure some degree of distress came through in my voice.
The human being I’d talked to assured me that healthcare providers would accept my insurance as long as I had the relevant ID, even though the name on it doesn’t match the name on my state-issued photo ID.
So, I tried calling my primary care provider. Might as well make that appointment, right?
“The office is closed. Please leave a message after the tone.”
I think I’d rather go eat some ice cream…